I love entertaining – not a weekend goes by when I don’t have someone over for some drinks, dinner or brunch. This is made all the more special at Christmas, when the décor becomes even more vibrant than at any other time of year. With splashes of red and gold around the room, the festive feel creates itself.
When it comes to Christmas decorations, I’m a great believer in ‘less is more’. There is nothing I find more tacky than a room bursting at the seams with tinsel and plastic stars. A few cleverly placed bursts of colour do the trick well without appearing too garish.
The key colours to use are red and gold, however you can add to this with some other festive shades, depending on the existing colour scheme in the room. As my living room is mainly cream with brown or off-white furniture, I can experiment with quite a variation of different colours without it clashing. My choices this year, on top of the essential gold and red, were silver and deep green. The green appears mainly in the form of small plants, including the Christmas tree of course, and my personal favourite: garlands. This year The White Company have produced a Eucalyptus and Winterberry Garland which beautifully decks any staircase or beam.
Top choices for more darkly furnished rooms may include a deep orange or navy blue twinned with silver or a light grey. These will brighten the room and embrace the festive theme, without an excessive explosion of colour.
Creating a festive feel to a home is not only done through themed decorations; the choice of furnishings plays just as important a role in the decking of the halls…
Cosy cream throws or rugs instantly bring winter to mind. Also, adding festive cushions to your sofas will make a seasonal, yet subtle, difference. These pheasant cushions from John Lewis are not obviously Christmas-inspired, yet they certainly add to the festive theme of the room. Again, it all comes down to the colouring – the warm orange against a backdrop of cream, combined with the classically red back add warmth to an otherwise light room. These cushions are perfect if, like me, you prefer your Christmas décor to be minimalist.
Is there anything more homely than walking through the door and smelling the sweet spiciness of Christmas? Conjuring that perfect aroma is a great opportunity to make some delicious drinkable treats, my favourite of which is this Mulled Cider. By taking your favourite apple cider and infusing nutmeg, freshly squeezed orange juice, brown sugar, vanilla, the juice from a clementine, pomegranate seeds and a stick of cinnamon, you not only have a rich winter warmer to perfectly kick off your festive parties, you also have a spice in the air! For a teetotal alternative, whip up a hot mug of Chai to warm your cockles and stir up a festive aroma in your home.
Another versatile option is to dry some citrus fruit. Not only does this strike the perfect aromatic note, it can also be used for baking and as a table decoration. Simply slow bake slices of the citrus fruit of your choice – I chose orange, however lemon is another popular option – for four hours and let that mellow sweetness carry through your home.